Paul Krugman, last Friday:

But that’s not how Republicans see it [unemployment benefits]. Here’s what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning’s position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

Dancing DeLay agreed:

Crowley pointed out that saying “people are unemployed because they want to be” is a “hard sell.”

DeLay responded: “Well, it is the truth.”

Without trotting out all manner of charts and graphs [BR: Ok, one chart] to demonstrate how absurd this position is, I’ll make one comment and ask a few questions:

Comment:  This position — at its core — essentially labels Americans as lazy ne’er-do-wells who’d just as soon live off society’s largesse than earn a living. Is that really a position any politician would want to take?  Does anyone else find that as offensive as I do?  Anyone know someone who’s living on UI and lovin’ it?

Question for Senater Kyl and Dancing DeLay:  How would you explain the epidemic laziness that apparently afflicts Americans exactly at business cycle peaks, which is then somehow miraculously cured at business cycle troughs?

Interestingly, the JOLTS data was released just yesterday, and we see that there are still well over five unemployed for every job opening (near the recent record of over six, though there was an improvement in the number of job openings).  The un- and under- employment rates speak for themselves.  Comments like these should really be beneath any reasonable level of civil discourse.  It is pathetic that they’re not.

>

Category: Current Affairs, Economy, Employment, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

168 Responses to “An Epidemic of Laziness?”

  1. Moss says:

    Intellectual laziness is the real epidemic coupled with partisan ideology. Have u heard any of them claiming that the ‘market’ is validating the economic policies undertaken by the Democrats? No and u won’t. Were a Republican in office they would be falling over each other claiming what a success the policies have been as validated by the market.

  2. clawback says:

    This is just one anecdote, but the other day the lady cutting my hair mentioned that her boyfriend got a letter saying his unemployment would run out. She said he had been laid off a while back from some factory job and had refused to look at any job that paid less. She said she had encouraged him to just find “something” that would tide them over until he could get something better later on. Finally, she said that if his unemployment did run out, then he would have to do just that — take a lower-paying, less desirable job.

    I’m not suggesting the boyfriend is lazy, but the extended unemployment benefit has apparently kept him out of work — maybe. More accurately, the extensions on benefits have likely just kept people from having to face the reality of the new jobs picture. That factory job probably isn’t coming back, and new ones probably aren’t coming into the area. Many people will be forced, one way or another, to settle for less.

    The other point to consider here is that not all of these “lazy” check collectors will be able to find a job. What will this do to a) GDP and b) crime rates. That’s the other thing the lady said — if “they” cut off people’s benefits, people will start “breaking in and stealing stuff.” I assume she didn’t mean her boyfriend, but to her it was a no-brainer that this would happen.

  3. Dogfish says:

    Hmmm… Barry, it seems like you’re trying to use logic and data to show a Republican how they are wrong… as my mechanic says sometimes… “Dat’s your problem right thaar”.

    It’s not just intellectual laziness with these characters, it’s intellectual dishonesty. These people are saying things they know are untrue – but it’s a more profitable position for them or their campaign contributors.

  4. Darmah says:

    They (Kyl, DelLay, etc) are the lazy ones. Critical thought is far too hard. They prefer putrid platitudes which are a clear disservice to the many unemployed who want to work. I know more than a few who have been out of work for close to a year and actively looking.

    This line of remarks simply perpetuates myths about the middle class while providing cover for the true thieves — executives, bankers, etc. If they are interested in knowing “who’d just as soon live off society’s largesse than earn a living,” all they have to do is look in the mirror. Politicians excel at parasitic behavior.

  5. JohnQ2 says:

    Anecdotal story: A woman I used to work with left our firm after 32 years and went to work at a law firm in a support/clerical capacity. She was laid off from the firm after working there for two years. She has collected unemployment for TWO YEARS. She has clearly stated that she is not looking for a job and will not be looking once the gravy train ends. She considers herself retired. Two years of unemployment is too much. Waaay too much.

  6. clawback says:

    Well put, Darmah. Few of the Republicans are too much worried about the welfare checks going out at 85 Broad or at a certain bank down in Charlotte, e.g.

  7. Super-Anon says:

    I don’t know if it makes people lazy, but I can say from personal experience years back and the recent experience I’ve seen some of my friends go through, it definitely does create an incentive to postpone looking for work.

  8. dead hobo says:

    BR screeded:

    [BR: No, Invictus screeded]

    Question for Senater Kyl and Dancing DeLay: How would you explain the epidemic laziness that apparently afflicts Americans exactly at business cycle peaks, which is then somehow miraculously cured at business cycle troughs?

    reply:
    ————-
    First, I believe all Republicans in leadership positions are liars who think lying will bring them back into power.

    Next: BR, assume youself in a time of reversal. You are broke, unloved, and your existing skills are useless going forward. Would you greet at WalMart or work a cash register at McDonalds or are you afraid of waiting on an old friend who hasn’t had the same problems as you? Might they sneer at you and you don’t like that idea?

    Generically speaking, are continuing unemployment benefits a crutch that keeps you from mopping floors at a local hospital on the night shift? 99 weeks of gift money can change attitudes. Remember, lazy Americans are math phobic, logic impaired, glorify stupidity, expect free stuff and benefits from the government, and detest education that takes effort.

    Those lying Republicans nailed it in one.

  9. Blunt Instrument says:

    The solution is for voters to show Mr. Bunning, Mr. Kyl, and Mr. Delay the door. Unfortunately, with their generous benefits and honoraria from corporate benefactors they will never understand what it truly means to be unemployed. But at least they might understand how it feels to be terminated.

  10. willid3 says:

    not sure how to address this but here goes. many moons ago (ok many decades ago ) I went through the UI torture test. first off you barely get much of what you made before you lost your job, and if you don’t have family (or others) I am not really sure how you survive as you won’t make enough to pay your bills. and you are hunting for jobs any where, and if it is like it is now, they really don’t exist. i sort of understand the boyfriends plight. do you take a job that is unrelated to what you were doing, knowing that you will likely never get back to doing what you were. and the chances of hunting another job while working full time is usually very slim. when i was in that boat i did take several part time jobs to at least keep my skills. now if you know absolutely that those jobs will never ever come back, do you move to where they might be (if there are any) or change to a new career knowing you will never make up for lost income in it?
    and the GOP could care less about any body unless they are in the top 1% of income makers.
    always been that, every thing else is just window dressing.
    it used to be the democrats did care about the rest, but i am not really sure of that any more

  11. jyc3 says:

    Invictus:

    Do you really not understand the concept of “at the margin”? These politicians are twits but there is a definite correlation between the length of joblessness and the generousness of jobless benefits. The anecdote above about the lady’s boyfriend is exactly what this is about. Saying that extending jobless benefits extends the length of unemployment does not mean that all people who are jobless are lazy. All it means is that there are workers at the margin who will remain unemployed longer for a variety of reasons if benefits are extended. It might be because they don’t want to take a job at lower pay than the one they lost or some other reason. If they have sufficient savings extended unemployment benefits might allow them to wait for the “perfect” job rather than taking whatever comes along. You might believe there is a social benefit to that and there may be, but it doesn’t change the fact that this type of behavior does happen with some small sample of the population. There are numerous studies demonstrating this effect if you’d take the time to search them out.

  12. jcw3rd68 says:

    From WSJ’s Best of the Web column Friday:

    Paul Krugman takes note in his New York Times column of what he calls “the incredible gap that has opened up between the parties”:

    Today, Democrats and Republicans live in different universes, both intellectually and morally.
    “What Democrats believe,” he says “is what textbook economics says”:

    But that’s not how Republicans see it. Here’s what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning’s position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

    Krugman scoffs: “To me, that’s a bizarre point of view–but then, I don’t live in Mr. Kyl’s universe.”

    What does textbook economics have to say about this question? Here is a passage from a textbook called “Macroeconomics”:

    Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.

    So it turns out that what Krugman calls Sen. Kyl’s “bizarre point of view” is, in fact, textbook economics. The authors of that textbook are Paul Krugman and Robin Wells. Miss Wells is also known as Mrs. Paul Krugman.

  13. I saw that WSJ Op Ed — it was laughably inane, and I wrote James Taranto to tell him so:

    “Mr. Taranto,

    There is a not-so-subtle difference between the two examples you used:

    In one, the government has built in permament structural actions that can act as an impediment to hiring — guaranteed tenure, permanent unemployment insurance costs, firing grievance process — Europe (outside of Germany) has made it difficult to hire because you may not be able to fire. That structure exists ALWAYS, good times or bad, recession or expansion.

    Compare that with a counter-cyclical spending surge during and after the worst recession in 75 years — when there was zero credit available to the commercial sector, and the economy was nearly shut down. Since the worst of the crisis abated, the commercial and household sectors continue to deleverage. Savings are way up, spending remains anemic.

    That is a very different set of facts than the European example. One is the permanent state of affairs, the other is a temporary response to a crisis. There are so many factual differences between the two examples that they are hardly comparable.

    To claim that these the are somehow similar is simply a poor argument that is unpersuasive to anyone who a) can think clearly and b) is familiar with the facts in both examples.

    Your argument presupposes that these two scenarios are quite similar if not identical. Hence, it is why your argument fails — at least in terms of economics. It will however, get the political crazies all hot and bothered — which one might suspect to be your motive to be all along . . .”

    To his credit, Taranto wrote back:

    Dear Mr. Ritholtz–You make a well-reasoned case for the extension of unemployment benefits. Had Krugman’s column been equally well-reasoned, I would not have found cause to object to it. Cheers, James

  14. Robespierre says:

    I too recommend the parasites in DC to cut all unemployment benefits and then tell the lazy unwashed masses that if they can’t buy bread perhaps they should try cake…Unemployment benefits are not there to protect the unemployed. They are there to suppress social unrest

  15. dead hobo says:

    PS: Note to generous and wise Democrats; the ones who care so much for the defenseless, uninsured, unable to cope, meek, and poor:

    I still need a new big screen TV. My 2010 stimulus emergency tax rebate (refundable, of course) is needed NOW! The HDMI input doesn’t work and all I can get 1080i from is component video. Please help. I can’t live like this any more.

  16. catman says:

    If youve been treated like shit on the job and then canned, a spell on unemployment can be the best revenge for a while. On the other hand my wifes office has an opening for a good paying job just now. There are 90 applicants for one position.

  17. Darmah says:

    Okay, before the sh*t hit the fan with the Great Recession, job hunting advice was along these lines:
    * looking for a job is (should be) a full time job
    * it takes at least one month of searching for each $10k of income you need
    * taking a job outside of your “career” path to make ends meet was not advisable

    If you household income is around $60K, that’s about $1200 / week. Unemployment benefits top out at a little over $400 / week in my state. The average mortgage is probably around $250 / week.

    I know folks who have wiped out what savings they had and borrowed against their retirement savings. This crap about “being lazy” is horseshit.

  18. The Curmudgeon says:

    @jyc3:

    Thanks for lucidly explaining that yes, changing the cost/benefit ratio of employment vs. unemployment will affect those on the margin, i.e., those for whom employment costs are higher relative to the benefit of remaining unemployed.

    Here’s the real question: Is the present unemployment rate as high as it is because there is no work to be found at any wage? In other words, if the price of labor declines sufficiently, would the unemployment rate be also expected to decline? Of course it would. The problem is that we fat, lazy, stupid Americans (ok, really all of developed-country citizenry) think that the world doesn’t apply to us, and so we fight labor price declines tooth and nail. We fight it through regulations on working conditions and taxes on wages that make hiring far more expensive than the value of their additional labor. We fight it through inflationary monetary policies that attempt at all cost to prevent any sort of broad price declines even when demand and productivity measures imply price declines should obtain.

    There is a disjunct here between supply of labor and demand for labor. By government design and fiat, labor rates, and therefore labor supply, are very downwardly sticky. Which is why right now, and for the near-term, labor demand is apt to remain very muted.

  19. Kort says:

    Adding to the anecdotes—I know of 4 people personally who are milking the system (their spouses/partners still work time). Also know of a woman who works for a county judge and the judge has to retire soon. When the judge retires, so does his/her “secretary” as the new judge brings along his assistant. The woman says she’ll just go unemployment for 2 years until she can start collecting Social Security.

    If, if—if, I and my wife could make ends meet with 1 of us working and the other collecting unemployment for 2 years, it would certainly be attractive. But we’re both gainfully employed so no need to think about it.

    Delay and all of those guys are clowns—and nobody in DC cares about anything but staying in power but there’s truth in what they say, to a degree, with a certain segment of the population whether we want to believe it or not, or riducule them for being callous or not. We’ve turned a temporarily assistance program into a permanent lifestyle.

  20. bondjel says:

    Barry,

    If you ask for anecdotal counterexamples you’ll certainly get a few, but your main point is rock solid, whether there are a few people who don’t look as hard for work while on UI really doesn’t matter because the overall trend of unemployment during recessions and fuller employment during good economic times is an unquestionable fact. People like Kyl and Delay and Bunning are ideologues who get away with uttering nonsense because of the American national psychosis: anti-government attitudes. It is only because of this American craziness that the right can talk nonsense on any and all issues (unemployment insurance, global warming, health insurance and health care, education, etc. etc. etc.) and not only get a hearing but get reelected. It’s only because of this American national psychosis that a wimpy wuss of a Democratic president, Barack Obama, can be seen by masses of people as some raving socialist-communist-fascist who is destroying our country. It is only because of this national psychosis that Fox and Limbaugh have such an audience.

    ~~~

    BR: Invictus gets the credit/blame for this!

  21. globaleyes says:

    re: LAZINESS

    Deficit Spending & inflation are the last words in LAZINESS and represent the antithesis of hard work & discipline.

    I hope I made my point.

  22. DeDude says:

    It is probably true that people get more willing to take a lesser paying job the closer they get to loosing their unemployment benefits. After having lost their benefits and just before they lose their home a lot of them will be willing to work for any money doing any work. But that does not influence unemployment. Even if a desperate person somehow convinced a minimum wage employer to give them that minimum wage job, they would simply get a job that someone else would otherwise have gotten – so unemployment would still be the same. Even in the “best” scenario all you do is having one marginalized worker bump another out into the margin. Although I know of nobody who would hire a “just-tide-me-over” job seeker if there are other applicant who clearly are looking to stay longer than until they find something better.

    The only way to increase employment is to increase consumption (i.e. number of costumers in businesses so they need to hire more people). Reducing the amount of money people have and/or putting downward pressure on wages is the exact opposite of increasing consumption, it will just give us even worse unemployment. If anybody think that we can get jobs back by competing with the $-a-day countries take a quick look at their GDP – that is what you get with that approach.

  23. Dapple says:

    Why is suggesting that people receiving “free” money are less incline to find work an offensive statement ? Its not an emotional issue. Either its true or not. I am not sure there is a personal insult here and the fact the you (BR) take it as an “offence” is rather surprising.

    Could it be true that some individuals ( not all – but perhaps a good number) prefer welfare to sweeping streets ( an honest living) ? Sure many people are looking for work and would prefer to be off welfare, but that does not preclude those that are not.

    Its definitely not offensive to suggest that welfare benefits may prolong unemployment. Its simple math.

  24. [...] Invictus at The Big Picture gets all upset about Republicans pointing out the obvious: Paul Krugman, last Friday: But that’s not how Republicans see it [unemployment benefits]. Here’s what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning’s position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.” [...]

  25. we should remember: “Peep are resourceful bunch..”

    these types of ‘gov’t programs’ should be, if at all, as local as possible..

    probably wouldn’t hurt to publish a role of those ‘on the dole’..

    a little ‘moral suasion’ goes a long way..

    http://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Moral+Suasion

  26. destor23 says:

    @clawback: the problem with taking a job that’s not as good as your old one and trying to make up for it later is that working any job well interferes with one’s ability to search for better jobs.

  27. destor23 says:

    @clawback: the problem with taking a job that’s not as good as your old one and trying to make up for it later is that working any job well interferes with one’s ability to search for better jobs.

  28. Brendan says:

    During a recession where there is a shortage of jobs, and in the grand scheme, I’m not sure that it really would make any difference if people postpone or won’t take jobs “beneath them” because they have UI. If person X takes a job they’re overqualified for, it means that a less overqualified person Y will have to stay on UI. Since UI tends to max out at a pretty low level, in many cases you’re just robbing Peter (of his job) to pay (give the job to) Paul. So why is it better for a former desk jockey to mop a floor than a former floor mopper?

    The problem is that there aren’t enough jobs. That has virtually nothing to do with UI. If anything, UI may have the opposite effect and be an incentive. The highest qualified people who can continue on UI (rather than spend their hours flipping burgers at McDonald’s to get them by) are the ones most likely to start up new businesses or be in positions to bring in new clients or other activities which lead to creating new jobs when things turn around. If there are going to be people on UI, it’s better that those with the highest skill sets be the ones. Leave the burger flipping jobs to people only qualified to flip burgers. Hiring and training an over-qualified person to flip burgers just to have him or her quit once the economy turns around really doesn’t help the fast food joint either.

    That’s not to say there aren’t people who will game the system. You don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, though. Remember that UI is as much about keeping people spending to prevent a downward spiral as it is about propping up individuals who lost their job.

    Of course the concepts of nuance and shades of gray are waaay beyond most Republicans at this point.

  29. davver1 says:

    I don’t have my chart on hand, but it was basically a chart of when the unemployed found jobs. Not surprisingly there was a GIGANTIC surge the same week their benefits run out. I know people on unemployment, and their desire to find a job and the amount of effort they put into is definitely related to how much longer their benefits will last.

    Some will argue that we don’t want people taking jobs out of desperation, but many of these people never deserved the money they were making during the bubble. They simply need to adjust to the new reality that they aren’t the hot shit they thought they were, and many won’t until there is no choice.

  30. dead hobo says:

    globaleyes Says:
    March 10th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    re: LAZINESS

    Deficit Spending & inflation are the last words in LAZINESS and represent the antithesis of hard work & discipline.

    I hope I made my point.

    reply:
    —————
    Yes, spot on and bulls eye. In approximately one full twitter, you have encapsulated the American way of life. Live on borrowed money. Print the rest. Give a lot away to deserving poor folk. Let Wall Street make bales of cash using imaginary valuations and free money and distract people from real economics. Glorify stupidity as a tool if distraction and let the dummies control the dialogue, making it appear the political retards are preventing you from doing God’s work. Never challenge anyone to learn something new that is fact based.

  31. Robespierre says:

    Mark E Hoffer Says:
    “these types of ‘gov’t programs’ should be, if at all, as local as possible..”
    Of course the ones you received as benefits should remain as federal as possible (mortgage interest deductions to name one). Amusing how benefits that you enjoy you believe you deserve.

  32. clawback says:

    MEH,

    I would certainly support publishing the top “dole earners” (the order here is almost entirely made up, but you get the idea):

    1. James Dimon 17M
    2. Lloyd Blankfein 9 M
    3. Ken Lewis WTF M (Way Too F***ing Much)

  33. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Who the F* can live on minimum wage or unemployment benefits? This is not income replacement insurance — it’s a stipend and nothing more. I’m pretty sure that unemployment benefits are paid on a sliding scale, so even a minimum wage earner earns far more by working (but still not enough to stay alive).

    Those who are self-employed — a fairly large number of people, due to the recent trend of converting full-time employees to “independent contractor” status (and blatantly illegal, I might add) — are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

    The Republican leadership are full of shit.

  34. dead hobo says:

    BR asked:

    Anyone know someone who’s living on UI and lovin’ it?

    reply:
    ———–
    I have an in-law who appears to have no sense of urgency.

  35. Marcus Aurelius says:

    or is that, the Republican leadership IS full of shit?

  36. dead hobo says:

    BR asked:

    Anyone know someone who’s living on UI and lovin’ it?

    reply:
    ———–
    I have an in-law who appears to have no sense of urgency.

    oops:
    ————–
    Sorry, two in-laws.

  37. tagyoureit says:

    I’m with the senator, those lazy arizona housing construction workers need to get off unemployment and on to a boat or in the back of a pickup truck to the nearest county, state or country where they are actually building houses.

    I mean really, if they’re going to sit on their asses and just wait for Toll Brothers to break ground and start building 200,000 new McMansions in the desert, they get what they deserve.

    /sarcasm

  38. Robespierre says:

    clawback Says:

    “MEH,

    I would certainly support publishing the top “dole earners” (the order here is almost entirely made up, but you get the idea):”

    Let me add Angelo Mozilo

    BTW I too encourage those without a job to take a lesser paying job. To that end I recommend that they apply to jobs where the “UI vigilantes” work and offer their services at 1/2 their salary …. We need to increase the turnover of the unemployed inventory

  39. MorticiaA says:

    You know what MY definition of laziness is?

    Members of a political party who have no mind of their own, who continue to spew the same damn talking points ad nasuem.

    “The unemployed are just lazy. They need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”
    “Obama (or any other Democrat) is making us less safe.”
    “Health Care Reform is being shoved down our throats.” (Jon Stewart did a good job last week of showing clip after clip after clip of that one.)

    Not that I’m a big fan of the Democratic party either; they couldn’t organize a kids birthday party much less themselves. However, to anyone of us ordinary citizens who actually think for ourselves, the Frank Luntz school is getting really, REALLY old. The Republicans need a new approach but they’re too hard-headed to admit it, and they seem convinced that being the more obnoxious party wins elections, not the party with more voters who show up.

  40. DeDude says:

    “So why is it better for a former desk jockey to mop a floor than a former floor mopper?”

    Yes, spot on and bulls eye. To have the desk jockey take the job away from the guy who cannot do much else but mop floors, is a disaster for everybody. The desk jockey will not be good at it and be expensive in the long run for the business (they will have to replace him if he finds something better). The “professional” floor mopper will have noone else to bump and probably no other alternative for survival than crime (which will cost him and society a lot). The desk jockey will not be able to retain his “desk jockey” skills and society will end up with another low skills worker (something we already have way to many of). I know people find it horrible when somebody can live on and with UI for a while, but for society it is much better to distribute joblessness to those who for whatever reason can handle it, than to bump it down to those who cannot.

  41. flipspiceland says:

    That there are people who milk their unemployment benefits for longer than is necessary, of this there is no doubt.

    Those who would deny it are more than a bit naive about human nature.

    The question then is what percentage of those on U/E make up the slackers. In the current environment it seems safe to assume that they are in the minority.

  42. GerhardWMagnus says:

    This is just one anecdote, but the other day the lady cutting my hair mentioned… A woman I used to work with… I don’t know if it makes people lazy, but I can say from personal experience years back… Adding to the anecdotes—I know of 4 people personally who are milking the system…

    Why is it that conservatives always argue from anecdotes? Remember these blasts from the past?

    Just yesterday at the supermarket I saw this black woman buying steaks with food stamps! My brother knows this family on welfare and they’re all driving Cadillacs!

  43. Casual Observer says:

    Perhaps Senators Kyl, Bunning and DeLay would like to return every dime they’ve ever collected from the federal government. Its easy to talk when you’ve spent the majority of your life living a privileged secluded life at the expense of taxpayers and lobbyist money which is still eating at the carcass that is the US economy.

  44. clawback says:

    GWM:
    “conservatives”? you’re joking, right? my political heroes include Cindy Sheehan and David Swanson — you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  45. paswenson says:

    From “Macroeconomics” by Paul Krugman & Robin Wells, 2nd Edition, page 210:

    “In addition, public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European economies.”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=dpTBdNGGrtUC&pg=PA210

  46. scharfy says:

    Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness*..

    *(and extended unemployment benefits borrowed from the Chinese paid back [with interest] from unborn generations – because that’s who’s getting the bill, not the parasitic money changers alive now – their dough is protected by implicit mandate of the leaders clamoring for more benefits. )

    People are trying to rob Peter to pay Paul, but you will end up robbing little Jimmy to pay Paul. That stinks to high hell.

  47. John Purcell says:

    I made the mistake of overspending on education instead of housing starting in 2007, so I have been under/unemployed since I finished b-school in 06/09 – as you can imagine, the recruiting scene in September/October 2008 was nonexistent in the wake of Lehman…but on the bright side, my wilderness survival skills and combat training were not called upon due to massive risk shifting by the corporatocracy.

    But I am glad that Dancin’ De Lay agrees with my father that I’m a failure…but once the shiznit really hits the fan, the meritocracy may actually return. Until then, I envy people who act rationally (unlike my idiotic self) and live on the dole – if big business can rely on government assistance, why shouldn’t Joe Subprime? Government leverage, corporate leverage, and individual leverage mask the total lack of value creation in this country.

    Just don’t ask me for help, as I am clearly irrational and overly familiar with the external ballistics of my favorite projectiles, especially within the confines of my property.

    Peace be with you :-)

  48. DeDude says:

    “The question then is what percentage of those on U/E make up the slackers”

    No that is actually irrelevant. The big question is whether society is better served with a high percentage of those on U/E being slackers (or should we call them people who have chosen the extremely low paying job of “unemployee”) or we are better of with a high percentage of those on U/E being people who are desperately on the edge.

    The work for everybody is there, we just need to make it a death penalty crime to work more than 32 hours per week. Then everybody would have a job. For many different reasons we have chosen to let some people be without work why not let that be based on volunteering.

  49. Dogfish says:

    Let’s not forget that part of the problem also is that we have politicians and corporate leaders that espouse free market principles, but then don’t blink an eye at asking our labor to compete on cost with sweatshop labor in a communist country that pegs their currency against ours to maintain a favorable trade balance.

    If we refused to trade in (or imposed tariffs on) goods imported from countries that pegged their currency… that would level the playing field some, no?

    Also, for countries that have lax labor and environmental laws, we impose tariffs equal to the cost difference between that countries laws and ours. Standing up for labor rights and environmental principles.

    Naive, I know… but I can dream, right?

  50. Dogfish says:

    “But I am glad that Dancin’ De Lay agrees with my father that I’m a failure…but once the shiznit really hits the fan, the meritocracy may actually return.”

    No shit… my father is a boomer, was given (not inherited) the equivalent of $1 million by his father when he was 30, and worked his entire life in real estate, and was just able to *maintain* his wealth during the biggest bubble we’ve ever seen (sportfishing and country club golf ain’t cheap)… but then thinks me and my brothers are failures because we haven’t had his experience with success. He raised us in the “work hard, pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mold, where he didn’t give us shit (despite how much he was given). Note: having money makes it easier to make money. I see so much of him in how our “elites” are behaving in this country. Hypocritical self-serving BS. And we’re all poorer for it.

  51. Grunschev says:

    What states are some of you folks in that give two years of UI benefits? I spent last summer looking for work. In my state, it’s 26 weeks and done. The stimulus was originally an additional 10 weeks or something, I forget. I believe that extension was extended again, but I still don’t end up anywhere close to 104 weeks of UI benefits. Are you coming up with 2 years due to severance pay or something?

    To “earn” the UI benefits, you have to be looking for work. So if you’re retiring and filing for UI it is fraud and should be punished. My suggestion is that when you talk to these folks, you point out that they’re lying thieves. Unless you think it’s okay to steal. Perhaps lying thieves are also lazy, but the two things are not the same and shouldn’t be conflated in everybody’s anecdotes.

    As for Jon Kyl, I’m happy I was lucky enough to move away from AZ just before the bubble burst. But Kyl is an ignoramus of epic proportions. I would suggest he be ignored, but he’s in a position of power.

  52. jonhendry says:

    dead hobo writes: ” Would you greet at WalMart or work a cash register at McDonalds or are you afraid of waiting on an old friend who hasn’t had the same problems as you? Might they sneer at you and you don’t like that idea?”

    What makes you think WalMart or McDonalds would give you a job, when there are 100 other people applying for the same job?

    And if your prior job paid more than WalMart or McDonalds pays, they probably won’t hire you anyway, because they’ll assume you’re just going to leave as soon as something better comes along. Which is likely true. You’re most likely to get hired if your last job was at a similar level.

    I think a lot of people like dead hobo have an unrealistic idea of what it’s like. They seem to think, if you have had a job that pays $X/year, then you can *automatically* get hired for any job that pays less, and by gum you’re damned well entitled to a job at WalMart or McDonalds.

    In the real world, it’s entirely possible to go from making $80k at a dot-com to not getting hired for a $10/hour job managing a university computer lab, or working as a teller in a bank, etc.

  53. jonhendry says:

    I’ll also add that the Republicans must be awfully lazy, otherwise they’d have jobs in the Executive Branch now, instead of being on wingnut welfare.

    What’s that? Those jobs aren’t *available* because there’s a change of administration and party? You say they are highly unlikely to get hired even if they apply?

    I don’t buy it. They’re just lazy bastards.

  54. jonhendry says:

    “People are trying to rob Peter to pay Paul, but you will end up robbing little Jimmy to pay Paul. ”

    Little Jimmy won’t be in a position to pay anyone if he and his parents end up homeless now.

  55. Mannwich says:

    If this doesn’t put on full display their full contempt for the average American worker, I don’t know what does. Does Joe and Jane 6P really want to support these fools? Not that the Dems are that much better. They just hide their contempt better.

  56. jonhendry says:

    ” Saying that extending jobless benefits extends the length of unemployment does not mean that all people who are jobless are lazy.”

    At this point in the business cycle, yes it does.

    If we were near full employment, you might have a point.

    But at this point in the cycle you might as well be saying that if unemployment benefits were cut off sooner, the unemployed would get flying ponies. It’s magical thinking. The jobs aren’t there, and making people desperate for jobs isn’t going to make them magically appear.

    (Cutting benefits would likely reduce consumer spending, resulting in even fewer jobs to be found.)

  57. jonhendry says:

    It would be nice if the Republicans could find any sign of jobs going unfilled for lack of applicants.

  58. algernon says:

    Barry you are dead wrong on this, as jcw3rd68 points out. It may not be a huge effect, but studies have shown that generous, extended unemployment compensation slows the decrease in unemployment–not just in Europe.

    It’s not that people are lazy. But when the wolf is at the door, you are more willing to move to another city or make other sacrifices to gain employment.

    Your cocksureness on this item on which you are wrong isn’t attractive.

  59. Space_Cowboy_NW says:

    Re catman Says: March 10th, 2010 at 4:15 pm
    If youve been treated like shit on the job and then canned, a spell on unemployment can be the best revenge for a while. On the other hand my wifes office has an opening for a good paying job just now. There are 90 applicants for one position.

    ___________________________

    The corp/business aviation world is very niche and to give you an idea of the systemic damage just in my little world, an example:

    Chief Pilot for a Lear 31 put out the word (not advertised, yet) that he was in need of a 1st officer
    (right seat) who was typed (certified for the aircraft) AND have a A&P (aircraft mechanic) rating.

    In ‘normal’ times, one might have expected 5-10 applicants. Over 100 resumes showed up (via word of mouth) of very qualified pilot/mechanic’s for a position that is parttime and pays a notch above what the commuters (airlines) would pay.

    Given that there has been a 30-40% markdown in aircraft pricing within the last 18 months, and a whole lot of ships stuffed in rented hangars around the country, it does not take much guesswork that
    the lien holders/lenders are using the same practice that is being utilized with REO property for off balance sheet creative accounting for all to ‘look good’.

    Astounding to say that (on average) that there are six applicants for every opening according to the talking heads/msm. I’d wager the numbers are a lot higher…..

    As always, your mileage might vary.

  60. Mannwich says:

    Barry isn’t the author of this post-FYI.

    @algernon: What “sacrifices” are you talking about? I can see your point during ordinary times but these are FAR from ordinary times. What’s interesting is that sheeple is often FAR less exorcised by all the corporate and Wall Street welfare out there, but crumbs to J6P is seen as a crime. What a fucked up a country (and stupid) we are……I’d almost venture to say that the sheeple deserve to get kicked in the nuts if they can’t even muster up the energy to defend themselves and one another.

  61. jonhendry says:

    “In addition, public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European economies.”

    UI benefits that are generally low, and are extended on a special case basis, aren’t as “generous” as the Europeans have, which are high and pretty much constant, rather than varying with economic cycles as ours do.

    Furthermore, the other part of “Eurosclerosis” is reluctance to *hire* because it’s very hard to fire employees. We certainly don’t have that in the US.

    We have little hiring now because the economy’s been in the crapper for a long time and hiring lags.

  62. jonhendry says:

    “It’s not that people are lazy. But when the wolf is at the door, you are more willing to move to another city or make other sacrifices to gain employment.”

    Let’s see. They can’t sell the house. They probably can’t rent it either. So that makes it harder to move.

    What other sacrifices do you suggest? Goat? Ox? Human?

    You seem to be having a hard time grappling with reality.

  63. Mannwich says:

    Nobody seems to want to answer this bigger question – what if there simply aren’t enough productive activities around the world (especially the race to the bottom also knowns as “global free trade” or “serfdom”) for people to do now and going forward? What will the ramifications be? Instead of vilifying those unfortunate people, many of whom lost their jobs through no fault of their own, why don’t we ponder that question and try to address it? Oh, I know, because it’s easier to pick on the unlucky and the weak. What a country. Predator Nation rolls onward.

  64. Mannwich says:

    Exactly jonhendry, but trying to rationalize with nitwits like algernon and other teabagger ilk is an exercise in futility. Some people cannot be reasoned with.

  65. Julia Chestnut says:

    What it might do, if you have another source of income, is give you the power to wait it out while you look for something else comparable to your last job — not unlike the hairdresser’s boyfriend, who had a hairdresser bringing home another paycheck to keep them afloat. But why on earth would him taking a job at WalMart as a greeter be better for society? Shouldn’t he be able to be on benefits for a little while so he can be free to really WORK at getting something new that is a comparable level of skills and pay? SERIOUSLY, people: labor is a resource, and it can be grossly misallocated just like our capital resources have become. But when you misallocate capital resources it tends to cause less mental anguish. The benefits are ridiculously low. No one can live on that, I don’t care what people “anecdotally” say.

    UI here bites. The max would be roughly 1/5 of what my spouse brings home. That would cover about 1/2 our rent. We have three children, two with special needs: cobra of our insurance, from past experience, runs around the same amount as the max UI benefit would be. Now what raving jackass is going to suggest that we wouldn’t be moving heaven and earth to find new employment?!? Oh – that’s right. That great man of the people, Tom “fraud and poison” Delay.

  66. Mannwich says:

    I’ve only been on UI once (in ’98 briefly for about a month) but all it does is basically allow one to eat and keep one from being homeless. Nothing more. Trust me.

  67. Icarus says:

    Barry,

    You sure don’t have a handle on human nature. My daughter (BA marketing) lost her job last May. She hasn’t looked for a job in 9 months. Frankly she enjoys sitting at home all day long. Between child support and government assistance she’s doing just fine thank you. “I’ll start looking, when I have to” is the answer. In other words when her Unemployment benefits are close to running out. “After all I paid for those benefits I should use them…..” She is more than content to sit at home for two years (especially in a lousy job market) as opposed to doing the hard work required these days to find a job.

    I suspect there are a lot more out there than you might think.

    Icarus

    ~~~

    BR: Icarus

    You sure don’t have a handle on Reading Comprehension. I didn’t write this(see the author name in the top right hand corner?)

    But regardless of who wrote this, I am glad you have the answers based on your lazy ass bum daughter and the rest of your suspicions.

    You sure don’t have a handle on data analysis or critical thinking . . .

  68. Robespierre Says: March 10th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    R,

    as clawback delineates, above, below your post, let the whole of it be written..

    and, to be clear, ‘Morgage Interest-deductions’ are, simply, another bad idea.

    as soon as We start using the Tax Code to ‘incentivize’ behaviors, we should know that: 1. Those rules should be thrown out, and, 2. Tax Rates are too high..

    LSS: More ‘Rules’ make for less thinking, which, hardly, encourages Innovation..

  69. constantnormal says:

    One of the problems with our current system of wage compensation, supply vs demand for labor, etc is that those who retain their jobs also retain their high compensation. This creates a wedge between the employed and the unemployed, and makes each attribute crazy thoughts/motivations to the other. In most cases, they are identical, except for the quirk of fate that placed them in a job which disappeared. No amount of hard work would have prevented it.

    Perhaps we could try a thought exercise here. Instead of the current system of matching labor to jobs, we could hypothesize a switch to one where, when we have an excess of labor, EVERYONE (including management) keeps their job and suffers a lowering of compensation until the aggregate cost for labor satisfies the demands of the marketplace.

    Think about such a system for a while (if your mind is sufficiently limber), and what it would do for the “lazy”.

    I think that the people who actually believe that the majority of unemployed are simply “lazy” are merely explaining their own good fortune by attributing it to their own innate worth as employees. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  70. Invictus says:

    @jyc3

    There are numerous studies demonstrating this effect if you’d take the time to search them out.

    @Algernon

    It may not be a huge effect, but studies have shown that generous, extended unemployment compensation slows the decrease in unemployment–not just in Europe.

    I’m not a fan of those who refute what someone by arguing “there are studies out there and you should go look them up.” If there are such studies out there — and I’m sure there are — I believe the onus is on you — not me — to present the evidence you’ve found, and not ask me to do your homework for you.

    That said, I’m afraid that for every study you could find supporting your opinion, I could find one supporting mine. This has become an increasingly large problem as politics has infected even the most fundamental data analysis. This is why I have always preferred mining the data myself, crunching my own numbers, and drawing my own conclusions while simultaneously drawing on the knowledge of economists I believe ply their trade in a non-partisan way.

  71. mbelardes says:

    Invictus asked, “Anyone know someone who’s living on UI and lovin’ it?”

    I’ll answer, yeah, I do.

    I’m not sure what circles you hang out with but it is probably people that are professional, educated, and definitely not sitting around on UI and lovin’ it.

    I’m 26, living in San Diego and working while going to school to get where you are today. When I’m taking a breather and out with my buddies that have been laid off, I have seen that they gave up looking for jobs very quickly and are now content to just live moderately off of unemployment until it runs out and then try to go back to school. So this is not representative of America. This may not be representative of this particular age group (I like to think I hold up the average) but there is definitely a segment of our population that is just hunkered down and living off of unemployement, even if they are not necessarily loving it.

    It’s simply a matter of how many people are in that segment. Not 100%, but certainly not 0%.

  72. Mannwich says:

    @constantnormal: Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

  73. Mannwich says:

    But there will always be those who game the system to their benefit. Just ask the denizens on Wall Street. Andgo figure – we haven’t done away with them or that system yet, have we?

    One surefire way of tipping us into a Depression would be to yank UI away from the millions of unemployed now. Then we’d see the social unrest in the streets and violence that many here predicted (erroneously) last year.

  74. Mannwich says:

    And remember, this is an INSURANCE program. Millions of the now unemployed have PAID into this system over the years. They’re just receiving the claim on that insurance now.

  75. Dogfish says:

    constantnormal:

    “I think that the people who actually believe that the majority of unemployed are simply “lazy” are merely explaining their own good fortune by attributing it to their own innate worth as employees. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

    I don’t think that could be written any better than you have put it there.

    Most success is an intersection of luck, who you know, and ability… in that order. Yet there are many who are “successful” who will confidently claim that their success is all of their own making, as if the timing, community, and environment they grew up in and around had nothing to do with it.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, that at the time was applied to Bush but easily applies to many successful people I have met:

    “Born on third and thinks he hit a triple.”

  76. Pat G. says:

    “Anyone know someone who’s living on UI and lovin’ it?”

    Actually, I’m working on reestablishing my eligibility to receive it AGAIN this fall. A six month paid vacation? Please… Life if too F**CKING short. I made welfare determinations in AK, GA and NM and without a doubt there is a huge group of citizens who can live quite contently on AFDC/TANF, Medicaid and/or Food Stamps. I take a little higher road but I work the system to my advantage too. Doesn’t just about everyone you know? They might not be “lovin’ it” but they’re more comfortable knowing that the income is steady and they won’t have to worry about the rug being pulled from under their feet by the actions of someong else. Getting fired, CEO malfeasance, company goes belly up… whatever. They set their sites a little lower as they realize that acheiving the American Dream without first being connected is as likely to happen as winning the lotto. What’s the U6 these days, 19 or 20%? We all get by, best that we can…

  77. Thor says:

    Manny – you beat me to that. I’ve been on UI once in my life (for the full six months allowed) yet I’ve been paying into that system for the better part of 22 years.

  78. Thor says:

    Constant – don’t come here very often, but wanted to say I hope your wife’s family is all ok in Chile.

  79. constantnormal says:

    @Thor

    Actually, her family is all back in the States, but they have a lot of friends back in Chile, and they survived intact (albeit with considerable demolishment of their property).

    I guess this has got to put a dent in my list of places to “escape” to when this nation finally collapses under the load of compounded debt. Either that, or I’m going to have to learn to accept the periodic devastation of the space where I live. I’m too lazy to like that much.

    I will say that the hard-working nature of the Chileans, faced with incomprehensible devastation, is simply amazing how they are simply rolling up their sleeves and starting to rebuild. No laziness there. Must be their government assistance while they get their lives back together.

  80. Paul S says:

    Conservatives citing Krugman’s claims of the downside of UI and the possible cause of “Eurosclerosis” have once again proven themselves clueless on the real world of most working Americans. UI here in the US is not- I repeat- NOT generous. I am getting $425 each week (since November) but that is 30% of my former pay. I’ve been using UI to transition to self employment/starting my own business but that is only because I had savings. That cushion is disappearing but UI has helped me buy some time.
    BR is right on here. The GOP really have no clue, and it IS offensive to suggest we are lazy.

  81. doodad says:

    I’ve got a deal for all those “people on unemployment are lazy” folks: give your job to us. It’s that easy. Put your money where your mouth is. Give your job to me. I’ll gladly send you the dollars I would receive from UI in return for *your* paycheck. YOU TOO can finally live the Good Life (TM).

    Guess the fact that it’s INSURANCE and the we *paid dividends* while they were working goes ignored.

    If unemployment checks make workers lazy, what did the trillions in TARP payments do to the banks? When are *they* gonna stop being lazy and start looking for jobs? 4010?

    Just another case of “if its for us, it’s capitalism… if its for them, its socialism”.
    I’ve got a deal for all those “people on unemployment are lazy” folks: give your job to us. It’s that easy. Put your money where your mouth is. Give your job to me. I’ll gladly send you the dollars I would receive from UI in return for *your* paycheck. YOU TOO can finally live the Good Life (TM). Guess the fact that it’s INSURANCE and the we *paid dividends* while they were working goes ignored. If unemployment checks make workers lazy, what did the trillions in TARP payments do to the banks? When are *they* gonna stop being lazy and start looking for jobs? 4010? Just another case of “if its for us, it’s capitalism… if its for them, its socialism”.

  82. Boofus says:

    I work in a pharmaceutical plant in NC and have known many people, unfortunately, who have lost their jobs or have family members who have lost their jobs. My personal experience has been that many, not all, have waited until their benefits have nearly run out before looking very hard for a job. The severance pay along with unemployment has not been a motivator for them to find something new.

    Friday will be my test as my job has been eliminated. I plan on looking hard until I find a new job in pharma regardless of where it is. This is also a problem for many unemployed people. Many people will not move if they lose their job even if they can get a relocation package to move to a new one. Granted lower level and hourly people are rarely offered relocation benefits by hiring companies.

  83. Dogfish says:

    “Manny – you beat me to that. I’ve been on UI once in my life (for the full six months allowed) yet I’ve been paying into that system for the better part of 22 years.”

    Likewise… I feel compelled to add that I’ve been paying into that system for two decades as well, and fortunately have never had to go on unemployment. I did get laid off twice two years ago when the economy first started going down, but was fortunate enough to find new jobs quickly, despite seeing my salary go from 52 to 35 in the process.

    After the second layoff I actually got the call about my current job while driving to file unemployment for the first time (I felt sick to my stomach just thinking of having to do that). Instead I turned my truck around. Many aren’t that fortunate, however (as if I’ve been that fortunate as a comparison point anyway). Experiences like that are why I want to punch people in the face that try to lecture others about laziness and unemployment and such when they have never been in the same position.

    Hard-working people getting the shaft while white collar criminals get golden parachutes… what a country we have become.

  84. foxmuldar says:

    Nobody seems to understand what Bunning was doing. All he wanted is for the Senate to pay for the extension in benefits from another program. Only about 1/3 of the original $800 billion in stimulus has been spent. So why do we see more stimulus programs being suggested? Someones going to have to pay off this massive debt that is growing at a rapid rate.

    Today another stimulus of over $100 billion was being worked on to extend benefits for another year. Does that mean some folks will be looking at almost three years of sitting home on their ass and collecting a check? Hell I was laid off a few times in the last 10 years and when I was near the end of my 4th month, I was already looking for other work.

    I left my longest job of 28 years at a supermarket when they offered me a small retirement package. I saw the writing on the wall, and knew the company would be leaving the area I lived in shortly due to more competition coming into the neighborhood. I took my small $15,000 retirement package from which the government and state took 4,500 of it in taxes and I spent 7 months traveling back and forth 5 days a week attending Welder Training and Testing institute.

    It was a 2 hour drive each way. When I finished the school, I sent out at least 100 resumes to every company that might need welders. I didn’t sit home on my butt hoping for someone to give me a handout. I was 50 years old at the time. Try changing your career at 50. Because I took the retirement package I wasn’t allowed to collect unemployment. The school I attended had about 20 other trainees and I must have been the only one that paid for the course. All the others got it free from the states pic program.

    I’m now working a three day shift and collecting a partial. I’m at the age where I only have maybe three years left till I retire. Maybe I sound a bit like Im tooting my horn. So be it. I think todays generation is more dependant on the government. I’m old enough to remember the care packages. Anyone out there remember what was in a care package? Powered eggs, Powered milk, Peanut butter and not much more. Thats what you go from the government instead of a check. When all you could expect from the government was more powered eggs, you didn’t waste much time sitting at home thinking about taking a lower paying job. You took what was available.

    Times sure have changed.

  85. Thor says:

    Constant, I’m glad to hear that. Yes, those lazy Chileans are pretty shifty aren’t they? ;-)

    Seriously though, I don’t know where all of you people live, but unemployment in LA is most definitely not enough to live on – you might be able to pay for your rent, but good luck finding enough left over for food if there’s anyone except you who needs to eat.

  86. jyc3 says:

    This is really pretty basic stuff and there are tons of studies which confirm the behavior:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=425572

    http://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_1765.html

    http://www.heritage.org/research/Labor/wm2759.cfm

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=537948

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w2741

    In other words, this isn’t particularly controversial stuff in the econ world.

    Having said all that, I am not opposed to the extension of benefits in this case. The effects are at the margin and with unemployment this high are likely to be minimal. Yes, some will voluntarily extend their stay on the unemployment rolls but the vast majority are looking to get off as soon as they possibly can. But that doesn’t excuse lazy thinking on the part of Invictus.

  87. The problem with all of those studies is that if there are only 1 job opening per 5 unemployed persons, the unemployment length is irrelevant . . .

  88. Thor says:

    Dogfish – why did you feel sick to your stomach? I took a full six months off because I’ve always been a good saver and wanted to take some time off work. I figured (at the time) that it might be the only time I’d be unemployed for awhile so I wanted to take full advantage of the benefit. At the time it was quite a bit less than current benefits.

    I suppose you could say that was a lazy thing to do. I do feel though, that I’ll probably pay far more into UI than I’ll ever get out of it.

  89. Dogfish says:

    This bears repeating:

    doodad: “If unemployment checks make workers lazy, what did the trillions in TARP payments do to the banks?”

    Right on.

    Privatize the gains, socialize the losses. Quite the example our elites have set. If only they weren’t so self-servingly myopic as to realize they are shooting themselves in the foot in the process. We’re all on the same team, labor and capital is a symbiotic relationship, not a competitive one where we need to take sides and fight for one or the other. Suppress one long enough… action, reaction. Along with vacuums, nature abhors imbalance. And the unstated and one-sided class warfare for the past few decades have gotten things severely imbalanced. Those in power have the opportunity and responsibility to peacefully move towards a more balanced society, or if things continue in this same direction a more ugly and violent rebalancing awaits all of us.

  90. Dogfish says:

    “Nobody seems to understand what Bunning was doing. All he wanted is for the Senate to pay for the extension in benefits from another program.”

    I understood what he was doing; but he could’ve easily made his “principled stand” against the big banks and such that got us into this mess instead of doing so atop the least fortunate in this country that the banksters have already shat all over. Instead he choose to piss on them so he could tell everyone on the news that it’s raining principles.

  91. constantnormal says:

    Amen, foxmuldar.

    When one looks at the unimaginable amount of money being blown by Uncle Stupid on all manner of programs, it is inconceivable that nobody attempted to satisfy Sen Bunning’s demands to show how this was going to be covered by shifting around the wastage instead of borrowing still more … the C-17 program being forced on the Pentagon springs to mind, and I’m certain there is a thousand times that much that could easily be redirected, without spending an additional nickel. THAT was Jim Bunning’s point, not this clueless nonsense about “lazy” Americans lacking jobs.

  92. Dogfish says:

    “Dogfish – why did you feel sick to your stomach?”

    I felt ashamed about it. Despite my recent misfortune, I’m a capable guy and grew up in a well-to-do family and never thought I’d have to be in a position to require any form of social welfare; there’s others less fortunate than I that need it more. Yet, shit happens…

  93. Invictus says:

    @jyc3

    Out of five, one’s from the Heritage Foundation, two from a prof who’s at the University of Chicago, confirming what I’d said about the politicization of data analysis. I’ll look at the other two.

    However, as BR pointed out, when you’ve got record or near-record applicants/job-seekers for every job opening, it stands to reason that duration is going to increase and even those who aren’t lazy are going to have a tough time.

  94. Thor says:

    It’s almost surreal to read through so many of the comments in this thread – I just checked the open positions list for the company I work for and we have 15 open positions in our Development department. Most of the people we have here doing programming are Indian immigrants. We’ve always have a very difficult time filling many of our IT positions.

  95. clawback says:

    Dogfish,
    Bunning has been one of the strongest opponents of the bailouts, from start to finish. He’s been opposed to Bernanke and Geithner, and voted against their nominations for this reason. He even opposed the GSE bailouts and told Paulson exactly what he could do with his “bazooka.” Bunning might be a mean SOB, but he’s the real deal when it comes to the bailouts.

  96. TakBak04 says:

    Mark E Hoffer Says:
    March 10th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    we should remember: “Peep are resourceful bunch..”

    these types of ‘gov’t programs’ should be, if at all, as local as possible..

    probably wouldn’t hurt to publish a role of those ‘on the dole’..

    a little ‘moral suasion’ goes a long way..

    http://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Moral+Suasion

    ———-

    @MEH:

    Perhaps putting debtors into Stocks, shackled on the Public Green where the Townsfolk could throw their rotten fruit and veggies at them might be an even better punishment than posting their names on a Pamphlet that could be tacked to the “Old Oak Tree” reminding folks that they are “ON THE DOLE!”

    I assume you’ve read Charles Dickens? You do know why he wrote his “stories” that became Novels, don’t you?

    But, you are comfortable going back to that? Perhaps “Salem Witch Trials” once again for public spectacle for those “deviants” in our society who are loners who like black cats? Where does this end…in your view… Making “Public Ridicule” of ordinary folks when the “PERPS” on WALL ST….seem to be getting the same Big Bonuses for Lying, Cheating and Thieving?” AND….how much more on the “Public Dole” can Wall St. Bankers/Investment Cheat Houses BE….these days. ?????

  97. Dogfish says:

    clawback, I wasn’t aware of that, thanks for bringing it to my attention. Then I partially retract my previous criticism of him, because if he’s been consistent about it the whole way then that’s different, and my error for not looking more into his previous positions. If we had more people like that along the way we might of actually seen the market hit bottom already and be experiencing a genuine recovery instead of tip-toeing across a freshly printed paper bridge that’s going to collapse under us in our attempt to maintain the status quo.

  98. TakBak04 says:

    Thor Says:
    March 10th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    It’s almost surreal to read through so many of the comments in this thread – I just checked the open positions list for the company I work for and we have 15 open positions in our Development department. Most of the people we have here doing programming are Indian immigrants. We’ve always have a very difficult time filling many of our IT positions.

    —–

    Thor…perhaps you should “resource back to India the “15 Open Positions” that you have and maybe the Indian Immigrants you have filling the jobs would be happy to get a big bonus to go back and supervise the Indian Call Centers that Average Americans have to deal with daily?

    I would have thought that the “Indian Immigrants” would have come here for a better job than they could have gotten back home where all our American Companies are routing their “so-called Customer Service” facilities to these days.

    Oh My….Were you trying to say that “honest Indian Immigrants” are willing to take jobs that “slacker Americans won’t touch?”

    Pretty amazing…if that’s what you were trying to say given most average Americans experience with what tries to passs for “Customer Service” for anything these days. It’s amazing. Perhaps you have some better perspective on this that I might have missed?

  99. Invictus says:

    @jyc3

    Excerpt of abstract from first of remaining two studies I go to look at: “…this program is targeted to individuals aged 50 years or older, living in certain eligible regions in Austria.”

    I’m thinking a study involving a 50+ year old cohort in “certain eligible regions in Austria” might not be so applicable to the entire UI-collecting population of the United States. But, of course, I could be wrong. On to Study #5.

  100. scharfy says:

    @Thor

    I think you hit the nail on the head. The credit bubble collapsing exposed the frightful misallocation of labor in our nation. If Americans spent the last 10 years learning programming and systems integration ,etc. . they would be much better suited for the modern economy.

    But why learn c++ ,java, or python when you can sling mortgages, work @target, day trade bloated stocks, or get a platinum card with 10,000 credit limit(ok i’m guilty too). This is an ugly example of a prevalent phenomena. Christ we built 25 years of homes in 5.

    We have alot of buggy-whip makers in our economy, and the automobile is upon us, so to speak.. We must adapt.